CCSD Connections

A Monthly Parent Newsletter - December 2020

Superintendent's Message

While the 2020 holiday season will be far from picture-perfect amid the ongoing pandemic, the season is finally here, and I'm grateful for it. Over the Thanksgiving Break, we celebrated our family's new baby - my first grandchild, and he's the greatest gift we'll receive this year.

Aside from visiting with the baby and hiking a few trails, it was a quiet holiday for our family, and I found time to catch up with friends on social media. It was heartening to see so many of you taking extra measures to stay safe and keep our community healthy.

Unfortunately, our community continues to see high COVID-19 rates, as the pandemic intensifies across our country. Our schools are the heart of our community, and CCSD is our community's largest employer ... nearly every household in our county is connected to our schools as a parent, grandparent, employee, family member of an employee -- or more than one of these links. As our community's cases rise, so does the pandemic's impact on our schools, and the resulting hundreds of students and staff mandated by health officials to stay home for precautionary quarantines.

Our School Board at its meeting just before the break (read our Board Business Briefs report here) talked about the rising cases and whether masks - already mandated for our teachers and staff when they cannot social distance - should be required for students, but they did not take a vote on the issue. Board Chair Kyla Cromer said she plans, at their next meeting on Dec. 10, to bring up for discussion ideas as to how to further encourage students to wear masks. Board meetings are live streamed on our website, and a Board Business Briefs recap is published the next day.

We have received good news today from the Department of Public Health as to how the CDC’s announcement Wednesday reducing the length of its recommended precautionary quarantines – from 14 days to seven or 10 days based on specific requirements -- will affect our quarantine protocols. Beginning today, we have permission from DPH to implement new protocols that reduce precautionary quarantines for students and staff who take specific additional steps, including testing and wearing a mask, and these newly updated protocols are posted on our website. We know this is welcome news for the many families whose children have been mandated to stay home from school for a 14-day precautionary quarantine, some more than once, despite being healthy and never showing symptoms (less than 1% of these quarantines have been followed by a positive diagnosis).

Two other important notes:

EARLY DISMISSAL ON FRIDAY, DEC. 18: We will dismiss all high school and middle school students early on Friday, Dec. 18, the last day of school before Winter Break (the early dismissal schedule is online here). Elementary school After School Program is cancelled.

DIGITAL LEARNING DAY ON TUESDAY, JAN. 5: Due to the planned use of our schools that serve as polling sites for the General Election runoff vote, we will not hold in-person school on Tuesday, Jan. 5, which was to be the first day back at school after the Winter Break. Instead, in-person students will participate in a Digital Learning Day and complete their lessons at home online using Canvas and Microsoft Teams; teachers and staff will be working at their schools. This change will not impact students already enrolled in Digital Learning.

Thank you,

Dr. Brian V. Hightower

Superintendent of Schools



Hats Off to the Class of 2020!

CCSD's graduation rate has hit a new high, topping 90% for the first time in recent years with 90.3% of the Class of 2020 earning a diploma within four years of entering high school. Read more here.


Tonya Sebring, CCSD Supervisor of Student Activities & Athletics

An award-winning athlete, coach and athletic director, Tonya Sebring now scores successes for CCSD as its Supervisor of Student Activities & Athletics.

“I provide support for athletic directors, deliver professional development for coaches, as well as coordinate related special events and provide oversight for CCSD’s elementary After School Programs,” she said of the top responsibilities of the many under her oversight as part of the Office of School Operations.

A member of the Kennesaw State University inaugural fast-pitch softball team while earning her bachelor’s degree in health, physical education, recreation and dance, Ms. Sebring has since achieved great success as a coach and athletic director. She began her career as a PE teacher at E.T. Booth MS and then at Woodstock MS, and advanced to coaching and administrative roles at Etowah HS and Woodstock HS. Her CCSD high school softball coaching tenure included Region and State championships. As a high school athletic director, she was selected twice as the Georgia High School Association (GHSA) Region 4-7A Athletic Director of the Year and advanced to earn top honors as the Georgia Athletic Directors Association Athletic Director of the Year.

Ms. Sebring initiated CCSD’s National Girls and Women in Sports Day in 2005. The annual event, attended by female student athletes, coaches, administrators, honored guests and alumni, celebrates the outstanding accomplishments of CCSD's female athletic programs. In her first year in her new role, last school year she kicked off the CCSD Flag Football League, which received financial assistance from the Atlanta Falcons organization and the Arthur Blank Foundation and won an overwhelming amount of support from the community.

"We're so proud of Tonya and greatly appreciate the expertise and enthusiasm she brings to her new role," Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian V. Hightower said. "It's exciting to hear her updates as to the new opportunities opening up for our students through athletics and activities."

She and her husband, Bill, who serves as CCSD's Chief Support Services Officer, share a blended family and two rescue dogs.




Please check your school’s website and social media for school event information.

Dec. 4-5: Academy Street Theatre Group, CCSD's K-12 performing arts program, will present “’Tis the Season,” a free holiday dessert “theatre in the round” show at 7 p.m. at River Ridge HS. Seating is limited, and reservations are required.

Dec. 18: Early dismissal for all CCSD high school and middle schools students (the early dismissal schedule is online here). Elementary school After School Program is cancelled.

Dec. 21-Jan. 1: Winter Break. All CCSD schools and offices are closed.

Jan. 4: No School - Student Holiday/Teacher Planning Day; CCSD offices are open.

Jan. 5: Digital Learning Day due to General Election runoffs - all in-person students will learn remotely; Digital Learning students are not impacted. Teacher and Staff Work Day; CCSD offices are open.


Bookmark our website, Like our Facebook page, Follow us on Twitter and Instagram (@cherokeegaschools)... keep up with our news as it happens! #CCSDunited #CCSDfam